With a built-in kickstand and a detachable keyboard, Lenovo's new IdeaPad Miix 700 comes ready for productivity. The slate looks and feels a lot like the Surface Pro 3 — so much so that you'll have to look closely to see the differences. We consider that a good thing, though, since the Surface Pro 3 is our favorite 2-in-1 hybrid laptop on the market.
The Miix 700 starts with a 12.2-inch display that's almost identical to the Surface Pro 3's, right down to the superhigh-res 2160 x 1440-pixel resolution. It also has the same 3:2 aspect ratio, which means it's closer to the dimensions of a standard sheet of paper than to the typical wide-screen format you'll find on most hybrids. As with the Surface Pro 3, we expect that will be handy for taking notes with the Miix 3's digitizer pen, which will be sold separately.
Lenovo hasn't yet confirmed any specific details regarding the pen, but we expect it to use Wacom technology as the company's other recent hybrid laptops do. That should be good news for professional artists and designers, who generally favor Wacom pens for their superior accuracy.
As with the Surface, the Miix 3's kickstand is fully adjustable, featuring a "watchband-style" hinge that can be adjusted to achieve just about any viewing angle. That's a big perk, since most tablet kickstands lock you into just a few different angles. Plus, the Miix 700 comes with two full-size USB ports, compared to just one on the Surface Pro 3.
Whereas the Surface Pro 3's Type Cover keyboard must be purchased separately for $129, the Miix 700's detachable keyboard is included in the box. That makes this machine ready for productivity immediately. As with the Surface Pro 3, the keyboard attaches magnetically to the tablet's bottom bezel, so it's more stable when balanced on your lap.
The slate is powered by Intel's new Skylake series Core M processor, which should provide very good performance without the need for a spinning fan inside. We'll have to wait to get our hands on it to know for sure, but we expect the Miix 700's performance to stack up pretty well next to that of the low-end Core i3-powered Surface Pro 3.
The IdeaPad Miix 700 certainly looks like an enticing, work-ready alternative to Microsoft's flagship tablet, especially considering its affordable $699 starting price. Prospective buyers might want to hold off for a month or two to see what Microsoft has in store with the next-generation Surface Pro 4, which is rumored to launch sometime in October.